Older beginner pilot

Hi, I’m Jameson. I don’t know if my situation is unique but I could use some personal advice.

My background is in real estate. I’m a leasing manager so I make a decent living. My job is not stressful or time consuming so studying is not an issue. I also get two days off per week in which I could use to fly.

I am 32 years old and have some college but not much as I’ve had to work to put a roof over my families head since I was 20.

I’m trying to change careers and would love to become a pilot. Flying is a passion of mine.

I live in the NYC area so there is a school called Century Air that seems pretty good. They do work around my full time work schedule so the only thing holding me back is how to finance it.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I could probably afford a loan if the payments were around $300-$400 a month.

I thought about ATP but after speaking with the finance department I don’t think its an option for me. They give you a living expense of $1600/month and that wouldn’t even cover my rent let alone anything else.

I would move and cut any expenses that I can however due to my families need/requirements I am already living on the bare minimum.

Any thoughts would be great as I don’t know the right way to go about doing this.


First off you’re not really older, you’re actually right at the average age most pilots start and no your situation is not uncommon at all. Sadly the cost of training is often the most challenging aspect of getting into this industry. As for finding cheaper options unless you can secure the loan with something (like a home equity loan), student loans are usually pretty pricey. I too am from NYC and I’m familiar with Century. They’re a fine local flight school but I fear you’ll find flying part-time to be incredibly frustrating. I got my PPL at TEB back I day and it cost me a fortune and took almost 2yrs. There’s a reason the military and the airlines train daily. Every skill is built on the last and unless you can maintain a high level of consistency it just doesn’t work. What I’m saying is if you’re serious about flying for a career you really need to find a way to train fulltime.